AMONG the guests at the first of King Charles’s two annual garden parties at Buckingham Palace were retired Guardian Series journalist Alan Domville and his wife Irene.

Not until a few days before the event was it confirmed that the King would be in attendance given his cancer diagnosis earlier in the year; it was his first engagement since then among a large crowd.

“It was an afternoon to treasure, “said Alan.

“It was held in glorious sunshine and the King spoke to every group in our particular line. He looked to be in good spirits and was clearly enjoying himself.

“Queen Camilla, Anne the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were also present.

“The organisation of the event was incredibly smooth, two military bands played throughout, the refreshments were delightful and Irene and I also enjoyed strolling round the beautiful garden.

Hollywood film director Sir Ridley Scott and his actress daughter Jordan, another film-maker Louis Theroux, the artist Tracey Emin, the choreographer Arlene Philips and television personalities Sir Lenny Henry, Alex West, Vernon Kay, Tess Daly and Maya Jama were also among those invited.

Alan joined the Guardian in 1958 and for 35 years before his retirement in 2006 he was our Series Bureau Editor with responsibility for the features content in all of our editions.

The proudest moment of his career came when he was a member of the British Press Awards Journalism Team of the Year in 1993.

He was best known to readers through his motoring and entertainment pages.